Roadmap for an overhead catenary system for trucks


In the past there has been a steady increase in road freight transport services. Current predictions indicate that this growth is likely to continue in future. Simply improving the efficiency of diesel drive systems will not be sufficient to comply with climate protection targets agreed by the international community. This will also require alternative energy sources and drive systems for trucks. Given the increasing ratio of renewable energy used to generate electricity, electric powertrains represent a real opportunity to further decarbonise the transport industry.

Hybrid trucks which can be powered electrically using traction current from overhead catenary lines have the potential to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions from truck transport. This system can circumvent the technical limitations of current battery storage systems (energy density, charging power, weight).

Project objective

The introduction of an overhead catenary system for trucks would create huge logistical, economic and operational challenges. The project “Roadmap for an overhead catenary system for trucks” investigates these challenges from a systemic viewpoint. Core issues:

  1. Suitable application scenarios for hybrid trucks powered by overhead catenary lines
  2. Potential development pathways for the system and associated challenges in terms of logistics and energy technology
  3. Framework conditions required to introduce the system

For this purpose, scenarios for the development of the vehicles and the infrastructure should be drawn up to provide quantified solution spaces (economic, ecological, transport-related, energy technology-related), and culminate in a roadmap.

Project leaflet (in German)